Top Instagram Advertising Options to Try in 2021

Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform with over 1 billion users worldwide. It is a powerful audience that can be reached in one click only, so there is nothing surprising it has become a number-one marketing platform too. According to Mention, 71% of US businesses use Instagram to increase brand awareness, sales and generate leads. Furthermore, there is a significant growth in sponsored content growth that has risen by 133% within a year only. These undeniable statistics show endless advertising possibilities of Instagram and not utilizing them is a rough mistake. You may wonder how to start marketing on the second most popular social media platform and what types and formats are there to choose from.

Look: this article is a complete guide to Instagram advertising options for everyone to benefit from this powerful marketing source.

What is Instagram advertising?

Posting sponsored content on the most popular photo-viewing platform on a paid basis with the goal to reach the most targeted audience is called Instagram advertising. The main reason why Instagram is so popular with businesses is the possibility to access people who are more likely to become clients of this business. By ordering IG ads brands may receive the following benefits:

  • Increase their awareness;
  • Generate traffic and leads;
  • Grow sales;
  • Convert more leads into customers;
  • Reach a bigger audience with less effort put.

Promotional posts look similar to traditional ones, but they can be identified not only thanks to the advertising content they have but also the #ad hashtag and the Sponsored label.

Why is Instagram advertising so popular nowadays? It really works! The platform confirms this with its recent statistics. According to Hootsuite, over 130 million people tap on shopping posts every day and over 200 million people visit at least one business profile daily. 81% of people use Instagram to research new products and services, and 55% of shoppers admit making purchases based on influencer posts. Doesn’t it sound convincing? If you have also appreciated the significance of IG for your business, it is time to get a closer look at the ways you can utilize it.

Ad types and formats

If you want to choose an ad that will meet your business requirements as specifically as possible, consider the following types and formats of ads on Instagram.

Stories ads

advertising on insta stories

Over 500 million people use Stories on a daily basis and 50% of users admit visiting a website to make a purchase after seeing a product or service in IG Stories.

These Stories have an Instagram Stories Ad feature that adds full-screen advertisements between users’ Stories. However, brands can create their own Stories and make them more appealing by adding face filters, video effects, text, emoticons, hashtags, etc. The call-to-action feature is also supported by Stories and can be even accompanied by a Swipe feature if you reach a more impressive following.

There are some requirements for Stories since you are recommended to use an image ratio of 9:16 and a minimum image width of 600 pixels.

Photo ads

contentInstagram is a visual platform, so the most popular type of sponsored ads are traditional posts with photos and images. They are added to the feed and provided with a description and hashtags.

You can upload images of jpg or png formats as large as 30 MB and provide them with text up to 2,200 characters and up to 30 hashtags.

This ad format allows brands to represent their products and services in a compelling way and such ads often look like ordinary posts being not perceived like ads.

There are different supported call-to-action buttons to be added to photo ads, so you can set a clear goal for your post and add a respective button below.

Video ads

Bringing life to your promotion campaign is great with video marketing. You can add a short video piece with your product or service to the feed and let your potential customers have a closer look at them.

Instagram allows uploading videos up to 1 minute long and recommends using video compression to guarantee a smooth viewing experience. These can be videos with a minimum resolution of 1080 x 1080 pixels and a maximum size of 4Gb. You can add a short description to this video – up to 125 characters and as many as 30 hashtags. CTA buttons are also supported.

Carousel ads

Unlike photo ads where you advertise products and goods using one image, carousel ads allow adding a series of scrollable images for one post. It makes posts not only more appealing visually but also attracts more attention to goods for sale and a brand. Furthermore, it allows highlighting different products in one post too.

It is possible to choose up to 10 images for a carousel ad as well as add videos to them too. The requirements for images and text in carousel ads do not differ from ones applied to photo ads.

Collection ads


One of the most important ad types for e-commerce is collection ads. They allow discovering, browsing, and purchasing products and services from a mobile device in a visual and immersive way. It also allows showcasing a brand and its products in Feed and Stories using not only images and videos but also text (up to 90 characters plus 25 characters for a headline). If you see a product you want to buy, it is enough to click the ad and you will be directed to the Instagram product catalog used across FB and IG. This ad is called collectible since it combines the power of several other ad types, so it is not surprising why it has received this name.

Explore ads

A discovery surface where customers are offered IG sources content on the basis of customer’s interest is called Explore and ads displayed there have the same name. This feature has been created for people looking for new ways to engage with their interests and willing to make new discoveries. You can add ads to Explore directly from your Feed since they can be extended to the Explore placement too. When someone clicks on a photo or video from Explore, he or she will see ads in their browsing experience as it happens in the Feed.

IGTV ads

IGTV examples

A recent type of ad introduced by Instagram is offered to users who prefer live videos on IGTV. This development is brand-new, so there is not much information about it at the moment. However, video creators are announced to receive 55% of the revenue received from ads and short ads up to 15 seconds long will be added to the video piece to let creators get rewards for their job.

Canvas ads

An absolutely new and innovative type of advertisement offered to IG users is canvas ads that provide viewers with a 360 VR experience within a story. Currently, only mobile users can see these ads and they can be provided images, videos, and carousels too. The minimum image height and width are 400 and 150 pixels respectively.

Instagram Shopping ads

Users who have installed Instagram Shopping options can transform their business accounts into virtual shop windows. It allows advertising all the products for sale in shoppable posts. A single click on the product or service will take a customer to the product description page where it can be purchased making a couple of taps only.

Instagram advertising options

Advertising on IG can be performed directly from the brand’s account or by means of attracting influencers, affiliates, and other third parties. Let’s look at each of the options closer.

Official ads

If you own a business and an IG account to promote it online, you can advertise your products and services directly. Even if your account is managed by marketing agencies or anyone else, all your products and services will be promoted from the brand anyway. It means that every photo, video, or carousel post added is perceived as a direct message from the company and its efficiency can be not so high.

Influencer marketing

Another way to promote products and services on IG is by cooperating with influencers and brand affiliates. Many people admit to making purchasing decisions on the basis of influencer’s advice, so brands can order ads and even large campaigns from people who have built an excellent reputation and big following online. Usually, influencers hired by brands add veiled posts for them to look more like a piece of advice and personal experience than a direct advertisement. Such an approach works much more effectively and delivers better results too.

Is Instagram advertising right for your business?

It goes without saying that Instagram is a perfect advertising destination not for all businesses. Looking at the statistics of IG user age, you can see that more than a to half of its users are people between 18 and 34 years old. Consequently, the main target audience of your business should be young and middle-aged people if you want to make it flourish thanks to this social media platform.

Experts say that businesses working in niches including beauty, healthcare, food, sports, traveling, fashion, and similar are more likely to achieve success via IG marketing. The main reasons for that are the possibility to take granular control of the audience and target groups of people with the same gender, similar age, location, interests, behavioral patterns, etc. Consequently, it allows accessing people of a certain niche and this unique opportunity makes IG ads outstanding in the market.

What should you consider to understand if there is a sense to build an IG marketing strategy for your business? Firstly, analyze how visual your business is. If you can represent its products and services visually and your target audience is mainly people in the age range from teenagers to millennials, Instagram can probably be your reliable assistant. Furthermore, if you work in a niche that is already highly advertised on visual social media, there should not be any doubts.

How to choose the best way to advertise on Instagram

You should have a clear understanding of what ad format to choose so that to get the highest level of its success and efficiency. Now you know the answer to the question “how do Instagram ads work?”, but there are several more points to consider when you think of the best type.

  1. Set up your goals clearly: each of the ad types has a list of objectives supported, so you can make your choice on this basis and focusing on the response rate in your feed.
  2. Look at the insights: they will help you identify what posts get the highest engagement rate and work in the right direction.

Instagram advertising tips

Every business wants to achieve the best results in promoting products and generating leads, but how to do that? There are several tips to consider:

Analyze your audience
You should know who your customers are, what interests they have, where they can be located, why they may need your goods or services, etc.

Be careful with text
Since the limit of text below an image is minimal, you should use every word wisely and leave a number of characters for CTA to have all your message displayed.

Boost your engagement
Instant response to comments and likes and regular analysis of the engagement rate will help you to make posts more appealing and get trust from your followers.

Track your performance
Keep an eye on your results and you will know what posts bring about better results.

Provide posts with personality and character
They should be interesting to interact with, so the quality of your content matters a lot.

Consider context relevance
If you have posted about cars and suddenly add a post about nourishing cream, will it work? Of course, not. Try to be consistent in your posts and avoid using too sales-driven ads.

Benefit from right hashtags
Remember about their maximum number and get one brand personal hashtag to be easily identified online. Furthermore, pay time to some research and remember that the optimal number for a post is 9 hashtags, so the choice must be reasonable.

instagram accaunt Prada-Adidas

Run contests and giveaways
These simple techniques seem to be the most effective way of generating leads and increasing brand awareness.

Schedule your posts to the right time
Think when your audience is the most active and try to add posts at this time to get the highest engagement rate.

Cooperate with influencers
It is a popular way to advertise products and services to the most targeted audience.


Instagram ads are a powerful tool in online marketing, so a good strategy can bring about impressive results to your company. Naturally, the first thing to understand is if your business is Instagram-friendly and what types of ads are the best solution for it. This simple guide is your first step to success on the second most popular social media platform, and now it is your turn to pave your way to goal achievement! Good luck!

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